Kim Yo Jong Is Ready to Become the First Woman Dictator in Modern History
OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Kim Jong Un’s little sister has emerged as North Korea’s most outspoken attack dog, securing her place as a possible successor to the leadership.Donald KirkPublished Dec. 28, 2020 5:02AM ET
SEOUL—The star of the younger sister of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has risen so fast and high in the country’s ruling firmament in 2020 as to make her appear as a stand-in for big brother if not his rival for power.
At 32, four years younger than Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong has made her presence known through shockingly tough statements that he had to have endorsed but she clearly wrote and recommended.ADVERTISING
Undoubtedly her most famous—and most effective—blast was her denunciation in June of North Korean defectors for firing off balloons from South Korea laden with leaflets criticizing the North Korean regime.
They were “human scum hardly worth their value as human beings,” “little short of wild animals who betrayed their own homeland,” she raged. It was “time to bring their owners to account” and ask “south (sic) Korean authorities if they are ready to take care of the consequences of evil conduct by the rubbish-like mongrel dogs who took no scruple to slander us while faulting the ‘nuclear issue’ in the meanest way at the most untimely time.”
Kim Yo Jong’s colorful rhetoric—more extreme than anything her brother has put out publicly since taking the reins after the death of their father, Kim Jong Il, nine years ago—struck a responsive chord here. South Korea’s national assembly, dominated by the ruling party of President Moon Jae-in, this month made it illegal to fire off not only leaflets but also candy bars and dollar bills and USB devices bringing traces of the good life south of the demilitarized zone to the hunger- and poverty-stricken North.
Moon himself adopted a turn-the-other-cheek policy after North Korean soldiers on June 16, at the behest of Kim Yo Jong, via the army, blew up the joint liaison office in the shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex just north of the DMZ. The blast, heard for miles around, showed she had meant it when she warned South Koreans to “get themselves ready” for “shutdown” of the office “whose existence only adds to trouble.”
Kim Yo Jong’s harsh criticism was all the more disappointing for Moon considering that only the day before the explosion, on the 20th anniversary of the signing of a joint North-South agreement in Pyongyang between Kim Jong Il and South Korea’s late President Kim Dae Jung, he had called on both sides “to move forward, one step at a time, down the road to national reconcili